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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

The Rudy Giuliani of Toronto?


Toronto finds a hero in Dr. Basrur. wonderful story from the Toronto Globe and Mail:
"I have such faith in Dr. Basrur," she said, referring to the city's diminutive, 46-year-old, single-mother medical officer of health, who had followed the mayor's performance with a lucid and persuasive, fact-by-fact deconstruction of the WHO analysis.

"She is so honest and you know she has such integrity," Lori said, hesitating slightly before plunging forward. "Please don't let Mayor Mel represent us on CNN!"

Toronto needs a Rudy Giuliani? Just look down. There she is, "five feet and shrinking," she allows when pressed, a woman of colour with the physique of a Cornish hen, large expressive eyes shining behind her glasses and the unmistakable ways of a born leader.

Sheela Basrur is a leader who came to prominence the old-fashioned way, much to her own surprise, as a down-and-dirty fighter in the infection-control trenches. Working in isolation, her department was almost overwhelmed trying to track down and gather up the far-flung cases that exploded out of Scarborough Grace Hospital last month. As the crisis widened to engulf the entire regional health-care system, however, it was her talents as a communicator that came to dominate.

Fearsomely articulate, logical and frank in her assessments of the epidemic, Dr. Basrur worked steadily to allay fears about rampant contagion in Toronto. Although little heeded at the height of the alarm, she emerged as the steadiest, most credible public spokesperson on SARS. By the time WHO hit, nobody was prepared to hit back harder.


Where do I start the Dr. Basrur for Mayor Campaign?


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